Court case highlights the reality of domestic abuse

Mar 29, 2013

The recent Haywood County murder trial is a stark reminder of the tragic results domestic abuse can cause.

Amanda Smith Morrow was described by her family as a happy seventh-grade math teacher who loved watching her teenage son play sports and spending time with her very supportive family.

In 2009, she fell deeply in love with Michael David Morrow, who she married after only five months. It wasn’t long before the revolving door of abuse began and after 22 months of marriage, she wanted to file for divorce. But on the night of Oct. 16, 2010, he tragically took her life.

One of Morrow’s ex-wives Lauren Burress, who bravely took the stand and spoke of his abuse, recognized she needed to escape the situation only after he choked her until she passed out and threatened to kill her.

She described him as jealous, narcissistic and controlling — all of which are red flags for abuse. But leaving him was not enough to save Amanda, who was his next wife and victim.

Many wonder why someone would stay in an abusive relationship, but according to REACH, the abuser creates a cycle of power and control that can be hard to escape. The abuser can manipulate, isolate and make the victim feel like things will eventually get better.

Many women may not believe they have the power to take control of a situation the way Burress did, but they can. In North Carolina, victims of domestic violence have the right to take legal action to end the abuse. That includes filing misdemeanor charges and taking out domestic violence protection orders.

For those who are facing abusive situations, REACH of Haywood County has a comprehensive program that can help. The organization is available around the clock at 456-7898, or via email at